NEWS: Recovery position
Are banks and building societies making it easier for people to borrow? It certainly looks that way at first glance with experts predicting a "gentle recovery" in housing market activity, based on recent news reports. Before you get too excited, it should be noted that new figures show lending rising only slightly (by 2 per cent, in fact). Still it is going in the right direction. On the other hand, even if mortgages are more readily available, the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (Rics) points out that the UK is still facing an acute shortage of housing supply.
Meanwhile, important news for landlords is that after the cut off date in late June, they must now be meeting official deposit protection rules, or risk heavy fines. Are you covered?
NEWS: Cameron's next move
Well, who saw that election result coming? Certainly not the pollsters and probably not even David Cameron himself. Yet he's installed in Number 10 for a further five years — and with a small majority this time. That, in many ways, was the easy bit, however: now the Prime Minister has to make good on the Conservative's manifesto pledges.
This includes building 200,000 new starter homes for first-time buyers under 40 by 2020, extending the Help to Buy loans scheme, introducing a Help to Buy ISA, plus creating a brownfield fund to “unlock homes’ on brownfield sites. Labour's promise/threat (delete depending on your political affiliation) of a mansion tax went with Ed Miliband's defeat.
With David Cameron in charge again some commentators believe that the rental market is likely to strengthen — so good news for landlords. But what about renters? Unlike Labour, the Conservatives aren't promising three-year tenancies and a ban on unfair lettings fees.
NEWS: Party Pledges
Phew. The campaigning — and the incessant political bickering — is over. Still, here's a round-up of the main parties' manifesto pledges regarding housing. The Conservatives have said that they will build 200,000 new starter homes for first-time buyers under 40 and extend the Help-to-Buy scheme to 2020. Labour, meanwhile, have promised 200,000 new homes a year by 2020, giving first priority to local first-time buyers; plus they want to guarantee three-year tenancies to renters and cap excessive rent rises. The Lib Dems announced plans to build 300,000 homes per year, while introducing a new Help to Rent scheme so that government-backed tenancy deposit loans will be available for all first-time renters under 30; and Ukip has pledged to protect Britain’s green belt and exempt houses built on brownfield sites from stamp duty. The Greens would scrap Help to Buy, and protect tenants by capping rents and introducing longer tenancies and a licensing scheme for landlords.